The One Where I Got a New Nose


Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve had breathing problems. I was not able to get a full breath, I would snore at night like a drunken pirate (not attractive for an 8-year-old), wake up with mild headaches, dry mouth and always experience morning fatigue. I knew that something was wrong by the looks on the faces of my family when they hear my night symphonies. On one lovely day, where everyone has finally had enough of me (and I have signed up for a new insurance contract), I have decided to visit an otolaryngologist, or as I like to call, my nose doctor, Dr. S.

Dr. S. is a Ragheb Alama look-alike doctor. After examining my nose for the first time (which was kinda awkward), he diagnosed me with the following: Severe septum deviation along with sinusitis. “Am I gonna die?” is what I asked him in the first place because the diagnosis didn’t sound so cute and friendly. He chuckled and said no, but you need surgery. And I was like oh … okay … cool… Let’s do it!

After gathering the needed documents and X-raying my skull, I was having high hopes that my surgery will be held on Friday the 13th.

Being so excited and anxious about having my first operation, I went to work on an office project with my former colleague and current friend, Mr. B. Back in those days, we were on a working spree and were running from one coffee shop to another. I was so excited to share the details of my surgery with Mr. B until that time where my phone rang. It was the insurance company going like: Oh, I am sorry but you cannot do this surgery now, you should be registered with us for at least a year, otherwise, the surgery would cost you $3K. Come again next year. Being so furious and thinking:

Back in those days, we were on a working spree and were running from one coffee shop to another. I was so excited to share the details of my surgery with Mr. B until that time where my phone rang. It was the insurance company going like: Oh, I am sorry but you cannot do this surgery now, you should be registered with us for at least a year, otherwise, the surgery would cost you $3K. Come again next year. Being so furious and thinking: what the hell are you saying? I have been preparing myself emotionally for a couple of days now! How dare you tell me what to do?! 

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Anyway, after raging for a while and cursing all insurance companies in the world, I accepted the fact that my snoring would persist for one more year. As I finished my cup of coffee and a donut, Mr. B and I moved to my favorite fast food restaurant, where we ordered some sandwiches and drinks. Afterward, still being upset, I went home to order some sushi. On the next day, Mr. B called me up to share a shawarma with him during his lunch break. I couldn’t resist. So we met. and ate.

N.B: During normal days, I do not behave like a hog and eat everything my eyes see. But on this day I was just so frustrated and had lots of chances to eat 🙂

The next day, Mr. B and I were supposed to meet again and finalize our project. But when I woke up, I felt dead. I was feverish, I was vomiting, I was fainting, I had an upset stomach, I was as pale as a ghost. I didn’t know why (probably because all the food ate up my brain, and it was no longer functioning correctly to comprehend that eating too much could kill you). I spent half the day in bed and the other half kissing the toilet, with a fever up to 40 degrees. I took all the fever killer pills there were at home. Nothing seemed to help, so I called the doctor and he was like, Guuuurl you gotta take it easy on the fever killers, you will fry up your kidneys and liver like KFC. Ok, he didn’t say it exactly THAT way, but you got the point.

Anyways, the next day, which was Friday the 13th, I was admitted to the ER due to food poisoning. Well, mainly it is not a particular poisoning from a specific place. My stomach was not physically able to digest donuts, coffee, chicken, meat and sushi within two days. It is like I was destined to be in the hospital on Friday the 13th, whether in the OR or ER. Same shit.

Now I am alive and my poisoning symptoms were over in no time. Of course, I had to blame Mr. B. for all the mess. As misery loves company, I expected him to get sick as well. Turns out that he is more immune to junk food than I am.

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Fast forward a year later, and it’s time to apply for the surgery again. It was like a deja vu, same procedure all over again: waiting in line to visit Dr. S., feeling awkward to remind Dr. S. about my snoring breathing problems, getting an x-ray done where I have to remove my piercings (my tragus ring makes this a punishment), and dealing with the insurance company. This time, I had to do multiple x-rays (by the end of the week, I was glowing), and finally… Got and OK for my surgery. YEY!

My surgery was scheduled on a Friday, but not the 13th. *YO JASON, GO HOME*.

During the whole week, I was playing it cool. I just got a new job, closed a deal, just graduated from college, life was smooth. As Friday was approaching, Mr. B. (yes, we’re still friends, even after he almost killed me last year) noticed how laid back I was in life that I had absolutely given no single crap about my surgery. Why should I? Is it an open heart surgery? What’s the worst that could happen? Get an ear stitched instead of my nose?

Friday: As the hours were ticking for my surgery to happen, the doctor was late, as usual, and I was impatient to get the thing done and be over with it in no time. As the nurses rushed in to check up on me and prep me for the OR, one nurse was SO distracted with my eyelash extensions that she forgot to take my fever *cute*. The MD staff were all over me to find out about my eyelashes. “Are they real? Are they fake? Do they hurt? How long do they last? Can you shower with them? How much? Wow, they look so natural!!”.


When I was admitted to the OR and the doc was prepping me for the serum, this was the moment where all the panic kicked in at once. WHAT THE HELL? Is it gonna hurt? Can I wake up midst surgery? Am I gonna bleed? Am I gonna feel a thing? Am I gonna die? Mama?

I realized that I am on the operating bed, and all I can recall is the anesthesiologist telling me: ARE YOU READY TO FLY like I was in some sort of a 90’s rave. HELL YEA, I told him. Seconds later, I was flying.

I woke up hours later, feeling weird and lost and puzzled. Where am I? Who are you? What happened? What time is it? What year is it? Who am I?  Mama?

I woke up, and I couldn’t breathe. What’s wrong? This surgery was supposed to make me breathe! Where is my nose??? What have you done? Have I become the one who must not be named?

Turned out I had nose packings… packed inside… my nose. My nose was an inch wider than the usual, making me look like a chimpanzee, all thanks to those horrible tampon-like fillings trapped inside my nose. They made me bleed. I couldn’t breathe from my nose for four freaking days! Those days were hell. I breathed through my mouth for four days!! I lost all sense of smell and taste and was gonna lose my nerve as well.

The doctor promised to remove the packing on Tuesday. I went all Samuel Beckett who was waiting for Godot Tuesday. I felt like Tuesday wouldn’t come. All I could think of was this damn Tuesday. Those were certainly the longest days of my life. I was so irritated the whole time. I would actually hate anyone who would try to joke with me, going like hehe yea pls die. I literally couldn’t bear any negativity, any scumbagness, any lameness in my life. I did not mind shooting someone, just because I was irritated of not being able to breathe through my nose.

Fast forward those four miserable days that I spent in bed, sharing my misery with my girlfriends Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte, soaking up on London Dairy that tasted like NOTHING, and here is the most awaited day of my life… Tuesday. I anticipated this day so much that I actually counted hours and even minuted before going to back to the hospital to be liberated from those nose tampons.

I had to watch videos on YouTube to mentally prepare myself for this emancipating moment of torture, and believe me, the sight isn’t very pleasing. When the moment that I have longed for so long finally came in, I felt my brains coming out with those nose packings. I closed my eyes, and when I opened them, I was free, breathing and as happy as never! I felt some tears in my eyes, but I wasn’t sure whether they were tears of joy or tears of sensitivity.

Suddenly, I was reborn. I could breathe, I could smell, I could taste all over again, and it suddenly hit me. What does it really take to make a person happy? To breathe through their nose again? To get back their taste? To smell again? How many times do we actually take the things that we have for granted only to realize that we cannot live without them?

The more often we see the things around us – even the beautiful and wonderful things – the more they become invisible to us. That is why we often take for granted the beauty of this world: the flowers, the trees, the birds, the clouds – even those we love. Because we see things so often, we see them less and less. – Joseph B. Wirthlin

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